This document is the rulebook for the Five Oaths live-action roleplaying system, or LRP system. In an LRP system, the action takes place in real life, on the field and in person, rather than with dice or cards. Players portray their character at Five Oaths events by putting on a costume (and facepaint and other prosthetics if needed) and wielding foam replicas of weapons like swords and axes.

Five Oaths events are organised by Five Oaths LRP Club, which is a volunteer not-for-profit organisation. In this document, the representatives of the Club who will run events will be called the Event Team. The Event Team will arrange all the event details and write the story for events. Events will take place over a weekend, with players setting up a campsite at a hired venue and then going on adventures as their character, fighting monsters and other antagonists portrayed by other players and interacting with the world presented by the Event Team.

In Five Oaths, all the Player Characters, also called PCs, are members of a warrior society called the gallóglaigh. Gallóglaigh is an Irish word, in English it is pronounced “gallow-glee”. There are many Irish or faux-Irish terms in use throughout the setting of Five Oaths, you can find a pronunciation guide on our website, which is linked at the end of this introduction. Also in this rules document we will add the pronunciation of a word as a footnote the first time it appears.

In medieval Ireland, gallóglaigh or gallowglasses were mercenary warriors who came from Scotland to fight for feudal lords. In the fantasy land of Tirneach[1] where Five Oaths take place which is loosely based on medieval Ireland, the gallóglaigh are an elite fighting force who swear (you guessed it) Five Oaths to gain access to powers beyond the scope of normal mortals, through the intercession of the omnipotent deity called the Shaper. They are organised into bands, and swear themselves in service to the Réig[2], who rules over the Five Realms. The Réig allows the gallóglaigh to work for the Tiarnaí and High Families for a price, and so the bands roam all over the Five Realms performing all sorts of missions. Each gallóglach[3] has their own background and motivation for swearing the Five Oaths, both of which of are up to you, the player.

In this document, you will find out how to play the game safely, discover more about the world of Five Oaths, and learn how to make your own character and begin their story. These rules are designed for fast, fluid action which should require as little intervention from the Event Team as possible. This means we’ve tried to design a system that allows for depth while being simple enough for a first-time larper to pick up and play.

How to play Five Oaths

In this section, we will give a quick overview of how Five Oaths is played, and what you can expect to encounter in this rules document. All of the game terms which we use in this section are covered in more detail in the rest of the rules document.

As described above, the gameplay of Five Oaths will take place in person, and you will act as your Player Character or PC while the game is running. Your PC can be as similar or dissimilar to you in personality and appearance as you like, but you must prepare a costume which shows any physical attributes that your PC has which are different from you the player. While you are playing the game, you are In Character as your PC.

While In Character, you will interact with other PCs and Monsters, which is the catch-all term for characters who are part of the story of the game. Monsters can be friendly or unfriendly, depending on the role they play in the story. Friendly Monsters can have information, valuable items they want to trade, or jobs or missions they want the gallóglaigh to undertake. Unfriendly Monsters will most often be there expressly to fight the gallóglaigh, or otherwise stand in their way.

Roleplay combat in Five Oaths is carried out in real time, with players using foam weapons to strike other players, generating the Damage Effect and other Effects targeting their foes. Characters can take Damage up to their total Body hits, and they can block extra Damage up to their total Armour hits. While you do actually strike other player’s characters in combat, it’s important to note that your blows should always be pulled. If your blows cause actual Out Of Character pain to another player, you are hitting them too hard.

Characters can also cast Spells, if they have taken the relevant Feats. In brief, a character casts a Spell by invoking their source of power, most often the Shaper, and then pointing at their target and calling out the desired Effect.

Spellcasting and striking for Effects come at a cost to your character, who must put in extra effort to use them. This is represented using a resource called Vigour. Every character in the game world has Vigour, but the gallóglaigh have much more than the average character because of the Five Oaths. In order to generate Effects through weapon blows and Spells a player expends Vigour depending on what they are doing.

There are some players who for Out Of Character medical reasons cannot take part in roleplay combat, and they can also play the game as Non-Combatant PCs. In the world of the game, their Non-Combatant PCs are known as Peacesworn, and they have a special role in the society of the Five Realms.

When you are making a PC in Five Oaths, you make a number of choices about who they are. First, you pick what Species they are, picking from one of the ten playable species. Most Species have special costume requirements to play them, which you have to portray if you want to play that Species. Next you choose where they are from, picking from one of the five Realms. Finally, you choose what they can do.

PCs’ abilities are governed by what Feats they have. When your PC takes a Feat, they will be able to do more than they were before. Feats are divided into different thematic Ways, for example the Way of Shadowed Blades for sneaky Feats or the Way of the Forge for Feats relating to blacksmithing. Feats define your character and a lot of what they can do in the game.

Starting PCs pick nine Feats from the Open Feat List in addition to the Species Feat and Realm Feat they get automatically. After you play each event you will gain an experience point which can be used to purchase one additional Feat, helping your character to become stronger and more powerful over time. This will be processed using our Player Database.

There are other things that your PC can do that aren’t covered by Feats. These are up to you, the player. How smart your character is (or is not), how well they get along with other characters, and what their personality is like are all up to you and your roleplaying skill as a player. Likewise, although your character may be capable of amazing things in combat, if their player is not able to land a blow on their opponent those things will not happen. It is not possible to simply describe your character as a legendary sword fighter or a convincing political genius, you have to persuade other players of this using roleplay and physical action!

What is required to play Five Oaths

To play Five Oaths, you need the following:

  • You must be aged 18 or over;

Currently Five Oaths events are restricted to players aged 18 or over. This is because our events deal with mature content and themes, and the Event Team does not consider the events to be suitable for children.

  • You need to show up to an event with a character prepared ahead of time;

Players can create characters by using the player database on our website. Once your character has been submitted and approved by the Event Team, you can play them at any event.

  • You need to bring your own gear;

Players should bring their own foam weaponry, tent, sleeping gear and other essentials. The Event Team may arrange for catering to be on site but this will not always be the case so players should prepare to bring food and cookware with them also. Players will be notified in advance about catering if it’s available.

  • You should have the appropriate costume for your character;

The setting for Five Oaths is loosely based on medieval Ireland, so costume should be roughly of that era. There are many online retailers which sell costumes and foam weaponry, which are linked in the Player Aids section of our website. Players should also fulfil the requirements of their character Species, and wear facepaint or face prosthetics as required.

  • You must abide by the Safety Rules and Code of Conduct.

Five Oaths has Safety Rules in place which must be followed at all times to ensure that everyone remains safe and has an enjoyable game. There will be a safety briefing at the start of each event and attendance at the briefing is mandatory for all players.

Five Oaths has a Code of Conduct which sets out standards of player behaviour and interaction. The Event Team is dedicated to creating an inclusive and respectful atmosphere at our events, and all players creating an account on our website will be required to agree to follow the Code of Conduct.

The Event Team may ask any player who is in violation of the Safety Rules or Code of Conduct to leave an event. The Event Team may also bar players from attending future events if the Event Team believes that the player will be likely to break the Safety Rules or Code of Conduct.

[1] Pronounced “Tir-knack” in English.

[2] Pronounced to rhyme with the word “vague” in English.

[3] This is the singular of “gallóglaigh”, and is pronounced gallow-glack in English.